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Sheriff pulls back request to lease Old Rock Jail in Crested Butte

Working on otherpossibilities

by Mark Reaman

The Gunnison County sheriff has decided to withdraw his request to potentially lease the Crested Butte Old Rock Jail as the north valley substation. That building is located next to the Old Town Hall bus stop at Second and Elk. The Crested Butte Town Council had planned to discuss the lease possibility with sheriff Rick Besecker at the Monday, March 19 council meeting, but Besecker sent a letter rescinding his request.

“For the past couple weeks I have received information from several credible sources concerning Gunnison County’s proposed acquired lease of the Stone Building as a Substation for the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office,” he wrote to Crested Butte town manager Dara MacDonald. “The information indicates there is doubt among those who consider such matters. Doubt that emphasizes such an arrangement is not in the best interest of City of Crested Butte.”

A story in the March 9 issue of the Crested Butte News reflected council concerns from several Town Council members with lack of parking at the site, an upcoming renovation of the Old Town Hall that could add to congestion at Second St. and Elk Ave., and a general hesitation given what appeared to be a ongoing situation without definitive resolution between the sheriff’s office and the town of Mt. Crested Butte police department to no longer contract with the town to perform sheriff’s duties in the north end of the valley.

Besecker reiterated Tuesday that it had been conveyed to him that at least some town officials were not interested in the county establishing the substation at that location and mayor Jim Schmidt said at the March 5 meeting that his “inclination right now is to not lease the property.”

Besecker said because of that information, he felt it best to retract his interest in the building.

“I am working on other possibilities but nothing is concrete at this point,” he said.

The contract between the county sheriff’s office and the town of Mt. Crested Butte expired at the end of the year. No transition contract has been signed between the two parties.

“We are patrolling the region frequently and getting positive feedback from the citizens,” summarized Besecker.

In his letter to the town, he also thanked MacDonald for the consideration and energy she and the council had given the matter.

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